After she bought 20 pairs of shoes in a single semester, Anel Gonzalez vowed to be more frugal when purchasing on the “UT Austin Women’s Clothing Exchange” Facebook page.
Gonzalez, a textiles and apparel senior, said she has since purged her shoe closet and is now more selective of the items she buys from the page.
“It was this feeling of, ‘I just have to have it!’” Gonzalez said. “It’s so cheap, I’m a size 6 1/2 and it’s hard to find shoes, like, ‘When is this going to come by again?’ It was a kind of retail therapy too, because of the stress of school.”
UT alumna Ashley Phillips started the Facebook page in 2014 and said it gained 2,000 members the day it was created. With over 8,000 members now, the closed group allows UT students
to buy, sell and exchange women-related items such as clothing, make-up and shoes.
“Usually you’ll find what you’re looking for — for a good price,” Phillips said. “When I was in school, I didn’t have a lot of money, so I thought it was a great way to (buy clothes).”
Phillips said the page also promotes student safety. To become a member, admins require a UT email address to ensure all members are affiliated with UT. Phillips said sometimes users encourage safety themselves, like posting news about safety or crime in West Campus on the page.
“We usually highlight those (posts) at the top so that everybody’s aware and makes sure they stay vigilant,” Phillips said.
Currently, the page has a pinned post for free self-defense lessons, which Phillips said has been verified by the admins as legitimate and safe.
Marketing senior Soneri Chaturvedi said buying and selling items through the page is convenient for a college lifestyle because exchanges typically occur on campus or in student apartments.
Chaturvedi said she uses the page to sell formal dresses she has worn for organization events and dinners. Chaturvedi said she is trying to live a more minimalist lifestyle and the page helps her declutter the things she no longer needs.
“Now, more than ever, I’m buying clothes (that are) one-time or two-time wear,” Chaturvedi said. “I used to just swap it out with my friends, but this is a cool way to make more money on the side so that’s why selling appeals to me.”